Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Coast in Progress

Coast in Progress
Watercolour on Arches
57cm x 38cm

This painting needs more work but I enjoy the energy that comes with under-painting a scene and the marks that result. I have used a lot of phthalo blue in this underworking, phthalo is the most over-powering watercolour colour I have come across. It can dominant the work and is hard to control, but it is so beautiful and intense.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

From Simeon Street

 From Simeon Street
Watercolour, Ink, Chinese Paint on Bockingford 
33cm x 26cm

From Simeon Street Ink
Ink on Watercolour Paper
24cm x 24cm

I recently discovered a new view of Clovelly from a high point near Simeon Street. It gives a wonderful outlook onto the landscapes and the graveyard and ocean in the distance. These are quick sketches from that point.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Blank Spaces

Fern Street Road
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
58cm x 42cm

It is often hard to know when a painting is finished. In watercolour it is really important to be aware of over-working as this can dull a piece irretrievably. Oil and acyclic perhaps more forgiving as paint can be scraped back or painted on fresh. In watercolour I enjoy that each brush stroke is intrinsic to the final painting. Obviously, as a result I am attempting to make each stroke deliberate and beautiful, and also diverse. In these recent pieces I am deliberately exaggerating the under-working to leave some of the rice paper or watercolour paper completely exposed.

Fern Street
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
50cm x 42cm

Bronte Fence
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
33cm x 27cm

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Heads

The Heads 
Watercolour and Chinese Paint on Arches
28cm x 40cm

The Harbour from Watsons Bay
Watercolour on Arches Paper
28cm x 40cm

Saturday, 23 October 2010

October Coogee

October Coogee
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches Paper
57cm x 34cm

Today I visit Gallery East in Clovelly where my solo show will be in April 2011. The exhibition was another local artist called Nick Hollo.  Like my recent work, he is also inspired by the Sydney landscape as his subject-matter. He uses oil pastels on board to create wonderful bold interpretations of the landscape.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Clovelly rock walk sketches

 Clovelly Sand
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
 20cm x 19cm

Clovelly rocks
Watercolour and Chinese Ink on Arches
26cm x 20cm

The distinct linear clouds combined with the pattern of rock or sand offers an inspiring reference point. In these small pieces I am using this real-life reference to abstract and suggest. Increasingly, my desire is to abstractly conceive reality in a way that does not purely abstract but rather captures the monumentality of the landscape. I want every brushstroke to express and to have purpose.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Coogee Distilled

Coogee Distilled
Watercolour on Arches Paper
47cm x 33cm

Coogee is a suburb with a distinct visual language. The low-lying red roofs, the use of red brick, the exposed electricity wires, the mature foliage between the buildings. I want to reduce the representation to give a sense of this rhythm so that the painting could be representative of anywhere in the area rather than just a particular view. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

South Coogee Horizon

South Coogee Horizon
Watercolour on Arches
58cm x 39cm

Friday, 24 September 2010

The in-between spaces

The in-between space
Watercolour on Arches Paper
57cm x 37cm

This is a painting from a space in-between I found when I was walking from A to B. I love walking. I often walk rather than take the car or bus. It takes me longer but I enjoy it. I enjoy feeling how spaces connect. So often we rely on transport to take us from A to B without enjoying those spaces in-between. I am a fan of the author Will Self who has written a book called Psychogeography. Basically, he argues that transport, particularly the car, has removed us from understand our landscape. He proposes that people understand the world as a series of disconnected microcosms without any understand how they relate. To better understand the landscape people should walk more.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Eastgardens Watercolour

Eastgardens Watercolour
Watercolour on Arches Paper
57cm x 38cm

This is the view looking south from the Westfield Eastgardens carpark. The view looks down Denison Street and eventually to Port Botany on the horizon. The distinctive red roofs illustrate the residential area of this landscape.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Auctioning the Landscape

Auctioning the Landscape
Acyric, Ink, Collage, Chinese Paints on Card
64cm x 51cm

This piece is an experiment using collage and even looser treatment of the landscape. The collage comes from the Southern Courier a local paper that has a large section with local real estate advertisments. The idea was to reference the fundamental aspect of economic value in the construction of the landscape. I really enjoy the work of Mark Bradford who uses collage in a unique way to create abstract map-like, layered pieces. Bradford finds all the materials used from the street in the form of posters or flyers then reappropriates them as an artwork.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Abstracting rock patterns

Clovelly and the Vans
Chinese Paint and Ink on Rice Paper
42cm x 40cm

Clovelly Monochrome Ink Sketch
Chinese Ink on Rice Paper
58cm x 42cm

In these ink sketches I am reducing the landscape to pattern from the water and rock. The sandstone rock provides endless reference for abstraction.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

La Perouse Ink Path

La Perouse Ink Path
Chinese Ink and Paint on Rice Paper
42cm x 65cm

This pathway runs parallel to the coast of Botany Bay and is set within the urban suburb of La Perouse. Yet , at times the density of the forest removes all of these geographical associations for a moment so that the pathway could be anywhere in the bush. I enjoy these spaces in the city where I can feel emersed in 'nature'.

This piece on rice paper, a wonderful translucent surface, and as I am learning a less robust one. In the centre of the painting you may notice a hole where you can see my ink covered drawing board.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Paths to Abstraction

I have reviewed the present Paths to Abstraction exhibition on at the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. The exhibition brings together over 150 pieces from Impressionism, Nabis, Fauvism, Cubism and Dada, to name a few. The basic premise of the exhibition challenges the idea of a hegemonic narrative and suggests is that there was no single movement to abstraction in European art but rather the paths to abstraction in were varied and unpredictable. The article can be read here in the New Linear Perspectives the literary arts and culture journal. 

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Watson Bay Boat Sketch

Watson Bay Boat Sketch
Watercolour, Ink and Chinese Paint on Arches 300gsm
33cm x 24cm

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Suburbia

Today I had time to get to the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney city. As I neither work or live in the city I do not go there often, so when I do visit I become acutely aware of how different the urban environment is there to the more expansive suburban Sydney. The density is significantly higher with more people, taller buildings and subsequently less sunlight. Perhaps due to its unfamiliarity I felt no desire to connect with this landscape and try to paint it. However my suburban ease was appeased in the Gallery of NSW in a large painting by Howard Arkley entitled 'Superb + solid' (1998) painted in synthetic polymenr on canvas . This is unusual as it engages with the suburbian landscape which is often disregarded in Australian landscape painting for the city or the bush. The house seems to be a more modernised take on a federation home perhaps built in the 1950s. The artist has distilled the image so that the suburban home almost takes on an iconic feel of a glossy real-estate photo. The idea of Suburbia has many connotations between a positive and comforting place to an isolating and unprogressive environment. It seems for an urban environment that is so significant  and dominant in Australia there should be more artists examining the subject-matter.

Howard Arkley, 'Superb + solid' (1998)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

From a Coogee Roundabout

From a Coogee Roundabout
Watercolour, Ink, Chinese Ink and Paint on Arches Paper
75cm x 56cm

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Coogee Rooftops

Coogee Rooftops
Watercolour, Chinese Ink and Paint on Bockingford Paper
75cm x 55cm

I do not know if this piece is finished, it might need something to pull it all together. It is larger than I have been working on on previous pieces. I want to find the right balance between abstraction and representation to give a greater sense of the place.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Randwick Inkscape

Randwick Inkscape
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
50cm x 28cm

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Sculptures of Urbanity

Malabar Road Sketch
Chinese Ink and Paints on Rice Paper
52cm x 42cm

I had lots of interruptions today doing this painting so the finished piece is not what I set out to do. The scene depicted is a junction on a main road in Maroubra with traffic lights, road signs and electricity wires. It is these functional sculptures of urbanity that I want to capture.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Made in China

California Bungalows on Rice Paper
Chinese Ink and Paint on Rice Paper
42cm x 34cm

 Coogee California Bungalows
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
40cm x 29cm

Continuing with the Shui-mo-hau influence, I want to juxapose these Chinese art materials with a distinctly Sydney built environment.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Clovelly Cliff

Clovelly Cliff
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
29cm x 40cm

Monday, 2 August 2010

Shui-mo-hua

Clovelly Rock
Chinese Ink and Paints on Rice Paper Scroll
42cm x 59cm

 Clovelly Swell Sketch
Chinese Ink and Paint on Paper
40cm x 29cm

Inspired by a recent trip to Hong Kong, a place I grew up I have decided to draw on some Chinese painting influence for these pieces. With my recent use of ink and watercolour it feels like a natural progression to look at Chinese landscape painting. This genre of painting has a deep history in using ink and washes which is more specifically known as Shui-mo-hua. The idea of this form of painting is not to reproduce the subject but to capture its essence. So to paint waves, rather than portraying a static image, the goal is to express its power or movement and to reduce the useless detail.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Brook Street Bungalows

Brook Street Houses
Acrylic, Ink, Graphite and Oil Pastel on Paper
64cm x 54cm

Any painting lies somewhere between complete abstraction and complete representation. This painting is another attempt at abstracting the landscape more so that it is clear what is represented but that the painting takes on a character of its own. Like any landscape Brook Street is layer upon layer of pattern that comes together in a way that is distinctive for the area. The low lying red california bungalow roofs, the electricity wires and the foliage are features that are intrinsic to the character of Coogee.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Clovelly Road Dribbles

Clovelly Road Dribbles
Watercolour, Ink, Acrylic and Oil Pastel
64cm x 51cm

I do not know what I think of this painting yet. I completely lost control of it then it came together again... I think.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Tamarama Beach Playing

Tamarama Beach Playing
Watercolour, Ink and Acrylic
64cm x 51cm

This is a playful painting of Tamarama Beach viewed from the coastal walk. The painting was produced with quick movements which caused some of the paint to splatter on the paper. Tamarama is a narrow beach between two protruding sandstone headlands. Swimming here is extremely hazardous due to the fast flowing rips. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Bronte Beach in Graphite

Bronte Beach in Graphite
Graphite and Eraser on Paper
61cm x 54cm

This drawing captures Bronte beach from the north on the coastal walk. It is winter so the beach is sparse of people. In the foreground you can see the edge of the sandstone cliff I am viewing from. Whilst drawing this piece I decided to use lines to build up the tone both with graphite and rubbing away with the eraser. The linear process reminded me of Alberto Giacometti's work. I am a big fan of this artist who lived from 1906 to 1966. He was famous for his emaciated figure sculptures, however, I have always been more drawn to his lesser know drawings and paintings. He uses a technique of layering lines to build up the image. The lines feel like there is urgency to them which combine in a vibrant chaos. Much of the intensity of his compositions comes from the staring gaze of the person captured.

Alberto Giacometti (1906-1966)
Oil on Canvas

Friday, 9 July 2010

Coastal Walk near Waverley Cemetery

Coastal Walk near Waverley Cemetery
Ink and Watercolour on Card
 51cm x 64cm

Bay Street, Botany

Bay Street
Acrylic, Watercolour, Ink and Oil Pastel on Card
51cm x 64cm

Bay Street in Botany is a long street that stretches over two suburbs in Sydney. The street gains its name from its original contruction where it lead to Botany Bay. This access is now blocked by a large storm water pipe. Botany was once a working class suburb which has now been engulfed by the expanding wealth of home buyers. Like most Sydney streets there is a large variety of architecture using brick and weatherboard. The streets are lined by electricity poles and developed foliage. 

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Clovelly Surf Lifesaving Club in July

Clovelly Surf Lifesaving Club in July
Acrylic, Watercolour, Ink and Oil Pastel on Card
64cm x 51cm

Friday, 2 July 2010

Abstracting Maroubra Beach

Maroubra Beach 
Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
56cm x 26cm

I find it easier to abstract the image and suggest more with ink and some watercolour however there is such potential with watercolour alone when it applied loose and freely. This painting is a larger watercolour than I normally paint and in it I have attempted to achieve the free mark-making of ink using only watercolour. I am relatively happy with it but there is a long way to go!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Maroubra Beach in July

Maroubra Beach in July
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm
27cm x 21cm

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Broad-leafed Paperbark Trees

Broad-leafed Paperbark Trees
Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm Paper
24cm x 22cm

These Broad-leafed Paperbark Trees stand between Busbys Pond and the Mission fields in Centennial Park. They were planted in 1902 as a wind break.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Parsley Bay Foliage

Parsley Bay Foliage
Ink and Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Paper
27cm x 35cm

Sunday, 27 June 2010

North Coogee Beach in Winter

North Coogee in June
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Paper
56cm x 21cm


Tower Block in Coogee
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Paper
27cm x 21cm

Friday, 25 June 2010

Burnie Street, Clovelly

Burnie Street
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Paper
36cm x 28cm

This painting was an exploration into a composition with a strong vanishing point. I wanted to capture the shadow pattern on the ground particularly from the fence to emphasis the converging perspective. As someone who has spent a lot of time in a cold and wet temperate climate I am really enjoying the strong light of Australia and the interesting effect it has on the landscape.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bare Island in Botany Bay

Bare Island in Botany Bay
33cm x 30cm
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Paper

These watercolours are from a recent walk around Congwong Bay near the New South Wales Golf course. It is interesting to view the traffic from the cargo ships sailing in and out of Botany Bay. From this vista there is also a clear view of the historic military fort island Bare Island which is connected to the mainland with a board walk. In the painting above I was almost looking into the sun and the sea reflected the sunlight. I have left the paper with a very thin wash to try and depict this reflection. In my work at the moment I trying to be minimalistic in my use of brushstrokes to suggest the scene. Watercolours are a medium where the phrase 'less is more' reigns supreme. They can be very unforgiving with heavy-handedness. I feel the painting below is overworked and does not flow as well as the painting above.

Botany Bay from near New South Wales Golf Course
27cm x 22cm
Watercolour on Arches 300 gsm Paper